I’m a Margate girl - well actually Birchington!! But Margate was much more fun!! My teenage years were spent train and bus hopping, arcade prowling, stomping up and down the High Street and as I got older staying out to 2am in the many clubs and pubs margate boosted!!
They were good days, real days - a youth spent happy, laughing, always on a mission, sometimes causing trouble, hanging with friends, cooking up ways and means. Eyes open, looking forward, believing we could conquer the world.
As the years have passed Margate went downhill - a very, very, very big hill. I’m allowed to say this as I’m from Margate - I can still love it whilst not being blind to it’s faults.
So, it was with great excitement that a trip to Margate was planned and a chance to explore the new, trendy, cool, vintage Margate that Instagram seems to portray.
My husband and I started at Fort’s Cafe in Cliftonville!!! Cliftonville, my husband scoffed!! Really!! I stuck by my guns - mainly due to the 5 star Trip Advisor reviews the place had got. We had a little giggle when we realised it was the old Mr Chips building - a popular stop off at 2am after Thorley’s and Frank’s when I was 18 years old (those in the know will know these names).
Fort’s Cafe did not disappoint!! Vintage, retro and utterly cool to the point of what could have been a disaster, the genuine service and the tasty, tasty, tasty brunch kinda stuck two fingers up at us! By the time I left I was in love and wanted to come back next day or in a couple of hours!!!!!
Onto Dreamland, transformed into a treasure to be admired, to be wondered over, to enjoy!! But it felt like they didn’t really want us to use it!! Look but don’t touch. However, the charm of days gone by was hard to resist and we succumbed - not enough to pay the rather expensive entry fee but just enough to get to the gates.
Then a 2 hour mooch round the Old Town. Vintage clothes shops, cafes, art galleries, furniture shops, craft shops, old school sweet shops. I noticed these were independent business - making an effort and with strong identities.
Walking round Margate, well…… I was impressed. The old town is regenerated, individual, interesting, refreshing and yes, very cool. Good food, lovely buildings, clean, friendly, enticing.
However, venturing into main town - the High Street it is clear that the old Margate is still there - fast food chains and empty shops dominate! Grotty, run down and tired.
I have high hopes though!! Margate is gonna make it!!!!!! And that makes me happy!